So he refused to speak at the national CPAC meeting, but he still wanted to set up a fund raiser at the same hotel during the conference.

Yeah, there’s your political maverick…

Convening through Saturday at a sold-out Omni Shoreham Hotel, the 34th annual CPAC will feature personal appearances and nationally televised speeches by every Republican presidential hopeful except Mr. McCain, said David A. Keene, chairman of the ACU, which, along with Young America’s Foundation and Human Events, is a principal sponsor of CPAC.

Conservative activists have speculated that Mr. McCain did not want to be seen on television “pandering” to Republican “right-wingers” but wanted to court those same activists at a reception in the same hotel.

“He turned down repeated CPAC offers to speak but then tried to get around us by having his office call the hotel to rent a room for a reception for CPAC attendees — without first seeking approval of CPAC organizers,” said Mr. Lauderback.

And just in case you think this event isn’t a big deal…

CPAC attendees “are the people who knock on doors for candidates they support and make up the core of the ground troops on whom any candidate has to rely,” Mr. Keene said. “By simply dismissing them, as Senator McCain has done, he is telling them more about himself than perhaps he wants them to know.”

Mr. McCain’s conservative supporters, from Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty to veteran conservative consultants such as Becky Donatelli, have told friends that they tried hard to get the senator to accept the invitation to speak at CPAC.

“It makes no sense,” Mr. Lauderback said. “McCain alienates the left by calling for the repeal of the Roe v. Wade decision … but he then alienates the right by dissing their organizations — refusing to speak at the recent National Review conference, the House Republican Study Committee retreat and now CPAC.”

I wonder what’s going on. Seriously. As Lauderback said, this really makes no sense whatsoever.

But maybe, just maybe, it’s all part of some sort of master plan…

…yeah…hmm…probably not.

Politics What Is McCain Thinking?